So much has been written about how to build successful startups, but the truth is, no one really knows the secret formula. Want to know why? Becau
Want to know why? Because there isn’t one.
However, while there are no rules that will guarantee success, there are rules that if not followed, will guarantee failure. Here are five skills you absolutely need to develop if you want to increase your chances of success as an entrepreneur:
1. Research is no fun, but it’s a must.
Listen, I realize it’s no fun, but the research component of building a successful company might just be the most important one. You must be a strong researcher. Before you even launch a product, spend some time researching the market, knowing your competitors, discovering their weak points, familiarizing yourself with their strengths, and just knowing everything there is to know about your market.
The paradox of entrepreneurship, one of many, is that you are driven by passion for your idea. While you want to get moving and hit the ground running, perhaps the most important thing you’ll ever do, is stop and breathe, research, study, analyze, and then, only then, decide if, and how to move forward.
2. Thicken your skin or go home.
The last thing you want to do as an entrepreneur is surround yourself with “Yes men”, people who will only tell you how amazing you are, and not point out the mistakes you are making along the way.
It is crucial to be mature enough as an entrepreneur to accept and implement constructive criticism, and sometimes even just plain criticism. Maybe you are great at coding, but that does not mean you are great at marketing, and if someone who is, tells you you are doing it wrong, it is your job to listen and internalize. For that, you need thick skin because it’s never fun to hear about your mistakes.
3. Flexibility is core to your success.
People often focus on building companies and not enough people talk about the art of the pivot. After you do your research, and after you hear feedback, sometimes it is imperative that you tweak, pivot, and readjust your business plan.
A core part of building successful companies is the ability to be flexible, because after all, the market that you are targeting is dynamic and ever-changing.
4. Communication is as important as your product.
If you are an engineer or maybe even an amazing operations professional, that does not mean that you are a good communicator. In fact, at the risk of offending some people, if you are an engineer, there is a very good chance that your communication skills are lacking.
The reason I say this is because as an engineer, you think like an engineer. You know who does not think like an engineer? Every other human being.
You need to learn the ability to speak the language of your audience, or else your code will be all but worthless.
5. Sharpen the analytical side of your brain sooner than later.
While passion for your vision is what ultimately drives you, the ability to look, really look at the numbers, the data, is something that is absolutely crucial to the success of your business.
You might think things are working, but the numbers tell a different story and if you don’t pay close attention, things might quickly go in a very wrong direction.
So while you might be a more qualitative professional, sharpening your quantitative skills is extremely important and core to everything you will do as a leader and an entrepreneur.
Entrepreneurship is not for everyone. The reason almost all startups fail and the very few survive, is because building a successful venture is as close to impossible as it gets.
So many paradoxes along the way, so many ups and downs, and so many skills you need to acquire as you build a business aimed at global scale.
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.
This article is from Inc.com